Sat, Oct 29, 10:17am by Bren O'Brien
It’s a new look Victoria Derby Day, but it is the same old feeling of raw anticipation as we look forward to the best day on the Australian racing calendar.
While losing the Mackinnon Stakes to the final day of the four-day carnival on paper looked like a blow to the quality of the day, the strength of the race which has switched places, the 1600m Cantala Stakes, leaves us feeling no worse off for the changes.
In fact the innovation of the VRC, something the racing industry is not renowned for, will re-invigorate the prestige of the Mackinnon and will re-invent the 1600m Stakes as a high quality lead-up race.
The quality of the Victoria Derby has been debated in recent years, and predictably the calls have been made to shorten the race. But clearly, there is no lack of trainers who think their young stayer can win the 2500m blue riband with a capacity field of 16, plus four emergencies.
WATCH: Our Preview of Victoria Derby Day
Sacred Elixir dominates the market, and has been $3 into $2.80 during the week. The other major mover has been Swear, who opened at $11 and is now $7.50. So Si Bon has been $9 all week, while at longer Odds, Inference has been $17 into $14.
We are putting our faith in Swear, who ran a big race behind Yankee Rose last time.
In the other Group 1s, we’ve gone for Mackintosh in the Cantala Stakes, Don’t Doubt Mamma in the Myer Classic and Star Turn in the Coolmore Stud Stakes.
Sheidel is our best bet of the day in Race 3, while our best value comes up in the final race with Dothraki.
Here’s our full preview of every race at Flemington on Derby Day.
Race 1 Carbine Club Stakes – 1600m
1st: 1. Hey Doc ($4.60)
2nd: 7. Acatour ($4.60)
3rd: 5. Bezel ($8)
4th: 3. Morton’s Fork ($4.60)
Betting: We currently have the unusual situation where there are three equal favourites at $4.60, Hey Doc, Acatour and Morton’s Fork. However, they may all be surpassed by Comin’ Through, who opened $7 and is now $5.50. Mount Panorama has been $34 into $19.
Summary: Hey Doc comes into this off a really good run in the Caulfield Guineas when third, He has the class edge, and as a result an extra 2kg, but we don’t expect that to be a major issue. Acatour comes through a tough run in the Gothic Stakes, where he cut the breeze and did well to hold on for a place. Should get a better run here. Bezel is on a good little winning streak and looks to be a horse on the up, while Morton’s Fork had no luck in the Gothic Stakes.
Betting Confidence: Plenty of confidence in Hey Doc here. He’s a good consistent horse who looks over the odds based on his form compared to his rivals.
Race 2 Mumm Wakeful Stakes – 2000m
1st: 4. Sebring Dream ($5)
2nd: 1. Missrock ($8)
3rd: 3. Alliterate ($10)
4th: 2. Pretty Punk ($4.60)
Betting: Pretty Punk has had a bit of love and has been $5.50 into $4.60, while Alliterate has been $15 into $10 over the past couple of days. Favourite Tiamo Grace has been $3.50 out to $4.
Summary: Interesting race here, but think Sebring Dream will relish the move to Flemington having got well back and worked her way home in the Ethereal Stakes last start. Looks a real Oaks type. Missrock was a terrific run in the Thousand Guineas and looks good value. So does Alliterate, who comes off a good run last start in Sydney and will sit on pace. Pretty Punk was a solid run in the Geelong Classic and will be competitive again her own sex.
Betting Confidence: Sebring Dream is getting out to a nice price and confident she’ll be in the finish. Also confident that Missrock is very good value.
Race 3 Sensis Stakes – 1100m
1st: 2. Sheidel ($4.20)
2nd: 1. Wild Rain ($10)
3rd: 11. Super Cash ($11)
4th: 12. Chloe in Paris ($13)
Betting: Sheidel has been backed from $5.50 into $4.20 in a very confident move for the favourite. As a result the remainder of the field, with the exception of Chloe in Paris, who has been $14 into $13, and Rule the River ($13 into $10), has shortened.
Summary: On paper this is an open race, but our clear best bet jumps in this in Sheidel. She broke through for a deserved win last time and has improved with every run. She may have too much speed and class for these. Wild Rain has had a great campaign and while she had a minor blip last time, she gets back to her own sex at her home track where she has been placed twice before. Super Cash is another mare who loves Flemington and who is in good form off a freshen up, while Chloe in Paris has two wins here, and comes into this third up off a long spell. She will improve.
Betting Confidence: The straight races with big fields can be a bit of a raffle, but Sheidel looks to have a bit on the rest of these. Highly confident she’s the one to beat.
Race 4 Lexus Stakes – 2500m
1st: 2. Real Love ($5.50)
2nd: 8. Oceanographer ($2.70)
3rd: 3. Tally ($11)
4th: 5. Tom Melbourne ($4.40)
Betting: They have jumped all over Oceanographer here, backing him from $4 into $2.70. De Little Engine has been $8 into $7.50. Real Love ($4.50 out to $5.50) and Tom Melbourne ($4.20 out to $4.40) have drifted.
Summary: Not a deep edition of this race. Have gone for Real Love here. She was honest without threatening at the Caulfield Cup, but not convinced Caulfield’s her favourite track. She gets back to Flemington where she’s had two starts for a win and a third. She’s the best of the locals by far. It was hard to miss Oceanographer‘s run in the Geelong Cup but not convinced about the strength of that race. Clearly, the punters like him for this. Tally was ok in the Caulfield Cup and doesn’t have a liking for Flemington, while this is d-day for Tom Melbourne, who gets out to a preferred distance.
Betting Confidence: Very confident that Real Love is getting out to a good price considering her local form is excellent. Happy to go against the tide and back her here.
Race 5 Coolmore Stud Stakes – 1200m
1st: 5. Star Turn ($4.20)
2nd: 3. Astern ($3.50)
3rd: 2. Extreme Choice ($2.70)
4th: 7. Saracino ($26)
Betting: Extreme Choice opened $3.30 and has been subsequently backed into $2.70. the move has not come at the expense of Astern, who has been $3.90 into $3.50, while Star Turn opened $4.80 and is now $4.40.
Summary: This is a terrific race with plenty of ‘hype’ horses engaged. Was so impressed by Star Turn’s win at Caulfield that you would think he’s right in this, even against quality young sprinters. He’s top pick, just over Astern, who beat him a few runs back in Sydney and has been set for this since winning the Golden Rose. Extreme Choice was brilliant in the Moir, but not convinced about those he beat and this looks tougher. Saracino is the bolter. He won well down the straight in September and looks better placed over the shorter distance after a competitive run in the Caulfield Guineas.
Betting Confidence: This is a great race to watch, but feel there’s not a lot between five of them. Confident Star Turn is the best value of the main chances and Saracino could surprise at big odds.
Race 6 Myer Classic – 1600m
1st: 7. Don’t Doubt Mamma ($7.50)
2nd: 2. First Seal ($4.20)
3rd: 4. Danish Twist ($9)
4th: 9. Pearls ($26)
Betting: Dixie Blossoms ($7 into $6.50) and Whispering Brook ($6.50 into $6) have both had a bit of support while Euro Angel has been $15 into $11. First Seal has drifted slightly but still hold favouritism at $4.20.
Summary: A very even Myer Classic, but think Don’t Doubt Mamma can make the requisite step up in class to win this, She loves Flemington, while her last start win in the Stocks Stakes was brilliant, and the horse she beat has since won. First Seal bounced back to her best last start and looks well placed in this. Danish Twist got too far back in that Caulfield race won by First Seal, but was beaten less than two lengths. She can improve into this. Pearls was third in that race and is in great touch this time in. She’s very nice odds.
Betting Confidence: Very confident the jump in class won’t trouble Don’t Doubt Mamma, who will be right up to winning this.
Race 7 AAMI Victoria Derby – 2500m
1st: 3. Swear ($7.50)
2nd: 1. Sacred Elixir ($2.80)
3rd:2. Prized Icon ($16)
4th: 9. Wine Bush ($31)
Betting: Sacred Elixir has been well supported all week and is now $2.80, but the big move has bene for Swear, who was $11 and is now $7.50.
Summary: Not convinced this race is as clear cut as the market would suggest. Sacred Elixir won well last week, but if that form doesn’t stand up, then think Swear is good value. His run in the Spring Champion behind Yankee Rose was full of merit and he looked like he’d benefit greatly from that run. Sacred Elixir is the one he needs to beat. Prized Icon can be forgiven for his Valley run. Didn’t handle the tight track, but when balanced up in the final 100m, hit the line pretty well. The blow-out could be Wine Bush, who was impressive here two back before racing too handy last time.
Betting Confidence: Confident that Swear and Prized Icon are both very good value and that Sacred Elixir is under the odds.
Race 8 Cantela Stakes – 1600m
1st: 11. Mackintosh ($9.50)
2nd: 1. Palentino ($7.50)
3rd: 8. Bon Aurum ($19)
4th: 4. He’s Our Rokkii ($8)
Betting: There hasn’t been a lot of money for those at the top of the market in this with both The United States ($5.50 out to $6) and He’s Our Rokkii ($6.50 out to $8) drifting. The money has come for Le Romain ($15 into $12) and Hopfgarten ($19 into $14).
Summary: This is a very open race but think under the handicap conditions, Mackintosh looks well placed. He’s a progressive horse who ran very well in the Epsom and gets into this with just 53kg. Palentino looked a star winning the Makybe Diva at this track and distance two back, but failed badly in the Epsom. He has so much class, is three from four at Flemington but must lug 57kg for his troubles. Bon Aurum loves Flemington, and you can forgive his run in the Toorak where he got too far back. He’s Our Rokkii is looking for six straight, but is probably better suited at Caulfield than here.
Betting Confidence: Very confident that Mackintosh is a great each-way bet at the $9.50.
Race 9 Tab.com.au Stakes – 1200m
1st: 3. Dothraki ($14)
2nd: 5. Keen Array ($5.50)
3rd: 6. Counterattack ($5.50)
4th: 4. Generalife ($21)
Betting: Southern Legend is the one they’ve come for in this, backing the NSW raider from $4.60 into $4.20. Keen Array and Counterattack have both been solid at around $5.50 all week.
Summary: Tough little race to finish off, but feel Dothraki represents the best value all day. His form this time in is solid, while he was third in the race last year when carrying more weight. I’m not convinced that it’s a better race than 12 months ago. Keen Array has been flogging them of late but step to Flemington may not as easy for him. He was second in the Coolmore this day last year. Third on that day was Counterattack, who will improve in this. Always like Generalife down the straight and think he’s good value as well.
Betting Confidence: Will be hoping we have a bank built by the last to have a bit of a crack each-way on Dothraki. He is crazy odds for a horse with his Flemington form.
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